Best Whole House Humidifier – 6 Top Choices for 2018

Relieve your home of dry air, whether too hot or too cold, by using one of these whole house humidifiers. They safely moisturize the air for hours of continuous operation. What are the benefits of using whole house humidifiers? You’ll definitely feel it with every breath, and your throat won’t dry out as much. Also, your skin won’t feel as dry, cracked, or itchy. Your hair will feel softer and not as brittle. You won’t have as much static shocks, either.

But, with so many great humidifiers you can find on the market today, how do you know you’re getting the best ones? These are the top rated and best reviewed whole house humidifiers. They’ll restore the moisture to the air in your whole home – and you’ll start feeling the benefits right after the first day.

Understand Whole House Humidifiers before you Buy


If you're looking to buy a whole house humidifier then you should know that there are two main types:

  • Central Whole House Humidifiers (ducted, non-portable)
  • Stand-Alone Whole House Humidifiers (non-ducted, portable)

Central whole house humidifiers are integrated into the ductwork of a home's Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system whilst stand-alone versions, as the name suggests, function independently and are non-ducted.

Central whole house humidifiers can be further categorized into:

  • Bypass humidifiers
  • Fan-powered humidifiers
  • Steam humidifiers

Stand-alone whole house humidifiers are a good choice for homes that do not have a ducted HVAC system, for example homes with radiators or baseboard heating systems. This type of humidifier can vary from a console or pedestal type with a manually filled water tank through to an in-built unit that is connected to your water supply. 

For an in-depth look at all the different types of home humidifier check out our ​Humidifier Buyers Guide

We've divided our review of the best whole house humidifiers into central, ducted and stand-alone non-ducted systems. We've selected our top 3 units of each type, so if you've decided which type you need you can skip straight over to that section to get the lowdown on our selections.

Best Whole House Humidifiers 2018 - Non Ducted

1. Essick Air AIRCARE MA1201 Whole House Humidifier

The AIRCARE M1201 can tackle the largest area of our top 3 stand-alone whole house humidifiers as it can moisturize the air in a space that’s up to 3,600 square feet. This humidifier looks like a modern update on the boxy classic humidifiers of early decades, with its white exterior and vented front. It’s a console style, with a really large 3.6 gallon capacity water tank that can run for up to 36 hours. It’s truly a ‘set it and forget it’ type of machine. It’s a great feature to have a large tank with a humidifier this size, since that can get unwieldy to constantly refill it.

After you fill up the tank, you can select from four different fan speeds, shown as F1, F2, F3, and F4 on the control panel. There’s also a humidity control and a power button. On the digital display, you can see the percentage of humidity in the air that’s closest to the machine, and this humidifier will also tell you when it’s time to fill the tank or check the filter. You can easily lock the settings in case you have kids or pets who would play with it.

The humidifier comes with one filter, which will last between 8 months and a year depending on use, so you will need to replace that. The fan speeds vary in terms of noise, just like a regular blowing fan. In size, it’s 14.5” x 21.5” x 20.5” and weighs about 14 pounds. It has casters to wheel around your house for mobility.

Pros

  • Works up to 3,600 square feet, so is a true whole house humidifier
  • Multiple fan speeds and control lock
  • Can run for up to 36 hours when tank is completely full

Cons

  • Fan speeds can be noisy
  • Takes up a lot of space on the floor
  • Needs filters replaced frequently

This Essick Air AIRCARE is a true whole house humidifier that does need some care and cleaning, but will run for hours and give your home’s air plenty of moisture.

Essick's AIRCARE MA1201 Humidifier

is our Top Pick Best Whole House Humidifier in the stand-alone category and is available at a discounted price on Amazon.

2. AIRCARE EP9 800 Digital Whole-House Pedestal-Style Evaporative Humidifier

The AIRCARE EP9 800 is a powerful stand-alone whole house humidifier that is suitable for homes up to 2,400 square feet. The stylish design will look good in your home and has some great features that make it easy to use, control and maintain.

Features

  • Up to 2,400 sq. ft. coverage
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    Up to 60 hours runtime
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    3.5 gallon water capacity
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    Digital display
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    9 fan speeds
  • Customizable humidity settings
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    Auto shutoff
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    Refill and recheck filter indicator
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    Easy front fill pour in design

Pros

  • Easy to install anywhere in your home.
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    Easy to use custom control to deliver the optimum humidity for your whole home.
  • Aesthetically pleasing design that will blend in well in your home.
  • Highly rated for its ability to raise humidity levels in your whole home.
  • plus
    Powerful fan - it is unlikely you will need to use it on its highest setting.
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    Very easy to refill and maintain.

Cons

  • Tank capacity could be larger, and is not removable like in other units.
  • Filters need to be replaced, but these are very affordable.
  • The fan is very loud when on its highest settings, however this is fully controllable.
  • The in-built humidistat is not as precise as external hygrometers

3. Honeywell QuietCare Cool Moisture Console Humidifier

Honeywell are a technology giant with a long standing reputation for quality, good value products. Their HCM-6009 Evaporative Cool Moisture Console Humidifier is their best selling non-ducted whole house humidifier and has received excellent feedback from users. This humidifier is suitable for mid-size homes and provides exceptionally clean, fresh moisture to your whole home via a multistep process. This ensures that the moisture delivered is free of dirt, dust, pollen whilst helping to prevent the development of odor-causing bacteria and mold. It also has a very quiet operation.

Features

  • Up to 2,300 sq. ft. coverage
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    Cool Moisture Technology
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    3 Humidity Output Settings
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    Advanced Mist Humidistat maintains your preferred humidity level.
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    Automatic Shut-Off when desired humidity reached or tanks empty.
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    Dual Water Tanks - total capacity of 3.25 gallons and easy to refill
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    Built-In QuietCare Technology - 30% quieter than other console whole house humidifiers
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    Energy Efficient - uses less energy than an 80 watt light bulb.
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    Prolonged Runtime - can operate for 24 hours per filling on low setting.

Pros

  • Maintains comfortable humidity levels very well.
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    Dual tanks allow a long runtime between fills and also allows refilling without stopping the unit.
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    The inclusion of caster wheels makes moving the unit easy.

Cons

  • Frequent cleaning (scale removal and disinfecting) is required, however this is the case with all stand-alone humidifiers. 
  • minus
    Although the unit is quiet, it is not silent!
  • minus
    Tank design could be improved for easier filling.

The below video provides a very detailed review of the HCM-6009. It is nearly 20 minutes long but worth watching if you're considering purchasing so you are fully informed. Interestingly, the person conducting the review considers the humidifier is actually noisy at high speed. You can hear the noise on the video and so can judge for yourself if you think this is an issue. 


Best Whole House Humidifiers 2018 - Ducted

1. Aprilaire 700 Whole-House Humidifier (fan-powered)

Our top pick of the ducted whole house humidifiers is the Aprilaire 700M. This is a large-capacity powered unit with big humidification performance for the biggest of homes. The Model 700 uses a built-in fan that pulls heated air directly from the furnace. It is mounted to the supply or return duct of your heating and cooling system and is recommended to be installed by a local HVAC professional.

Features

  • Up to 4,200 sq. ft. coverage.
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    Evaporation capacity of 0.75 gallons/hour.
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    Capacity to deliver up to 18 gallons of water per day.
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    Truly automatic control.
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    Automatic Digital Humidifier Control delivers optimum levels of humidity
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    Provides vital service, temperature and relative humidity indicators in manual mode as well.
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    5 year warranty.

Pros

  • Best performing whole house humidifier on the market.
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    Quiet operation.
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    Simple annual maintenance.
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    Improves energy efficiency - feel more comfortable at lower temperatures.

Cons

  • Water use efficiency could be improved upon.
  • minus
    No mounting equipment/ hoses or LV wire included with the unit - buy separately if DIY installing.

How does it work?


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    The humidistat that comes included with the Model 700 is installed on the return air duct and reads the humidity level of the air coming in from your home.
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    The humidifier will turn on if the humidistat signals more humidity is required until it reaches the set-point.
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    When the humidifier turns on, water flows into the distribution tray and over the water panel.
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    Dry, hot air is then pushed from the furnace into the humidifier and through the water panel, creating a natural evaporation process.
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    The hot air from the furnace turns the water into vapour, which is then pushed back into the air duct via the fan and distributed throughout your home.

Aprilaire's 700M Humidifier

is our Top Pick Best Whole House Humidifier in the central/ducted category and is available at a discounted price on Amazon.

2. Aprilaire 400M Humidifier (bypass)

Aprilaire also get the vote for the next best whole house humidifier in the ducted category, the Model 400M. This is a bypass humidifier, which uses the blower motor of the furnace to push air through the unit rather than having its own built-in fan to do this as with the Aprilaire Model 700. 

In addition, the 400M is a drainless humidifier, featuring evaporative technology to minimize water use. This makes it a great choice for homes with septic systems, locations where a floor drain is not available or if you are simply interested in saving water.  As with the Model 700 it is integrated into your existing heating and cooling system and needs to be installed by a local HVAC professional.

Furthermore, the 400M is a manual humidifier which means that this unit will not automatically adjust your home's humidity level with the changes in temperature outside like the Model 700. The system comes standard with a manual Aprilaire 4655 humidistat that can be wall or duct mounted on the return plenum of your HVAC system. Aprilaire do make a more expensive automatic Model 400 if you like the main features of this unit but want the automatic humidity control. 

Features

  • Up to 4,000 sq. ft. coverage.
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    Evaporation capacity of 0.7 gallons/hour.
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    Minimal water usage.
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    No drain required.
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    No standing water.
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    Provides vital service, temperature and relative humidity indicators.

Pros

  • Save significant water compared to standard humidifiers - reduced water bills.
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    Quiet operation.
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    Simple annual maintenance.
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    Improves energy efficiency - feel more comfortable at lower temperatures.

Cons

  • No automatic humidistat (M=manual) - go for the more expensive Model 400 if you need this.
  • minus
    Installation instructions and wiring diagrams are very basic.

3. Aprilaire 800 Residential Steam Humidifier

The Aprilaire Model 800 Humidifier is a steam whole house humidifier designed for large homes up to 6,200 square feet! 

Why Choose Steam vs Evaporative? 


Steam humidifiers differ from the evaporative fan-powered and bypass types as they use a different method to add humidity to the air.

 

Steam humidifiers electrically heat water until it boils creating humidity in the form of steam. The steam and as a result, moisture gets pushed through your home’s vents by the system’s fan. Humidity is created independently of your heating system being switched on unlike with evaporative systems that rely on the dry warm air from the furnace.


This makes humidity levels easier to control and these units are generally more effective than the evaporative type. Note that they are also more expensive to purchase and more complex to install. However steam humidifiers allow you to make heating savings, which can help to offset the additional purchase price over time.


Typically, steam whole house humidifiers are better suited for larger homes or applications where the installation of evaporative units is less practical. 

This Aprilaire 800 model is fully automatic, so there is no need to manually input the humidity settings. However, the humidifier does feature manual control mode if this is desired.

The 800 Steam Unit can accommodate crawl spaces, attics, and non-forced air heated home.
The Aprilaire 800 unit delivers the humidity into your heating and cooling ducts through a dispersion tube which connects directly to our home's airflow.

*Note: If you do not have a centralized, forced air system in your home, you will need to purchase the Aprilaire 865 Ductless Steam Humidifier, which includes the humidifier and the Aprilaire Fan Pack to provide humidification to your home without the need of ductwork.

Features

  • Up to 4,000 sq. ft. coverage.
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    Evaporation capacity of 0.7 gallons/hour.
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    Minimal water usage.
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    No drain required.
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    No standing water.
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    Provides vital service, temperature and relative humidity indicators.

Pros

  • Save significant water compared to standard humidifiers - reduced water bills.
  • plus
    Quiet operation.
  • plus
    Simple annual maintenance.
  • plus
    Improves energy efficiency - feel more comfortable at lower temperatures.

Cons

  • No automatic humidistat (M=manual) - go for the more expensive Model 400 if you need this.
  • minus
    Installation instructions and wiring diagrams are very basic.

Conclusion

Ditch the large, bulky humidifiers of the past that took up a lot of space and were unattractively designed. Humidifiers have come a long way since those days! This selection of the best whole house humidifiers includes ones that can either be integrated into your existing heating and cooling system or stand-alone. Both types can provide excellent humidity control for your whole home.

With the stand-alone models we've chosen, you will have to refill the tanks pretty often, so we've picked the best ones that are easily accessible and simple to fill as well as clean. They also cover a lot of square footage, have different modes, and automatically shut off when done.

The ducted option that we've chosen as our best whole house humidifier is among the highest capacity humidifiers you can buy. It offers great value for money for the performance it provides and is simple to install and maintain. In addition it comes with a long warranty for peace of mind.

We hope that this review has been helpful to you and if so we would love it if you shared it on your favorite social media channel! We'd also love to hear any comments you have so please don't hesitate to leave comments down below if you have any feedback or suggestions for future articles you'd like to see.

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